Mar 01, 2021 2021-03-01
In April 2019, scientists obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. Working for well over a decade to achieve the feat, a team of international astronomers and computer scientists improved on an existing radio astronomy technique for high-resolution imaging and used it to detect the silhouette of the black hole—outlined by the glowing gas that surrounds its event horizon, the precipice beyond which light cannot escape. Learning about these mysterious structures can help students understand gravity and the dynamic nature of our Universe, all while sharpening their math skills. Teachers can capture students’ enthusiasm about black holes by challenging them to solve the standards-aligned math problems provided by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) at California Institute of Technology. They can also model a black-hole interaction with a JPL NGSS-aligned lesson.